On Monday, author and New York Times columnist James B. Stewart published his recollections of an interview he had with registered sex offender and multimillionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein in August of 2018, about a year before Epstein's apparent suicide at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correction Center on Saturday morning.
According to Stewart, Epstein compared homosexuality and pedophilia, suggesting the taboo regarding the latter should be abolished as it has with the former (at least in the United States, generally).
"[Epstein] said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world," the Times columnist wrote.
"It's a disgusting comparison made by a disgusting man," LGBT outlet Queerty reacted to the apparent Epstein remarks. "Being gay and being a pedophile are nothing alike."
Clearly unbothered by his connections to girls and young women, Stewart said a young female, whom he pegged to be in her late teens or perhaps 20 years old, opened the door for him at Epstein's New York City residence at the time of the interview. "Given Mr. Epstein's past, this struck me as far too close to the line," Stewart noted. "Why would Mr. Epstein want a reporter's first impression to be that of a young woman opening his door?"
The registered sex offender also emphasized his connections to the rich and powerful, from former President Bill Clinton, to director Woody Allen, to Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman.
"Before we left the room he took me to a wall covered with framed photographs," Stewart recalled of Epstein. "He pointed to a full-length shot of a man in traditional Arab dress. 'That's M.B.S.,' he said, referring to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The crown prince had visited him many times, and they spoke often, Mr. Epstein said."
The Times columnist added: "Behind him was a table covered with more photographs. I noticed one of Mr. Epstein with former President Bill Clinton, and another of him with the director Woody Allen. Displaying photos of celebrities who had been caught up in sex scandals of their own also struck me as odd."
Stewart said Epstein asked him to join him for a dinner with Allen about a week after the interview had passed. "I said I'd be out of town," Stewart said. Then, weeks after that, Epstein asked him to a dinner with anti-Trump author Michael Wolff and former adviser to President Donald Trump Steve Bannon. Stewart, again, declined. "I don’t know if these dinners actually happened," he noted. "Mr. Bannon has said he didn't attend. Mr. Wolff and a spokeswoman for Mr. Allen didn't respond to requests for comment on Monday."